Release Date: Sep 2, 2013
Record label: Island
When you come out the gate with that "new flavor" attitude and a parade of clever ideas, sounds, and lyrics, the sophomore jinx hangs above the head like the sword of Damocles, and that goes double for genres like hip-hop, up to and including the U.K. strain. The vibrant return of Rizzle Kicks doesn't even seem aware of second album expectations, effortlessly bouncing out colorful and memorable pop-rap moments that are Fresh Prince fun, Dizzee Rascal funny, Eminem flashy, and as catchy as a hit that's one-half Drake, one-half Macklemore.
Sunny dispositions and chirpy tunefulness saw Rizzle Kicks achieve a double-platinum debut in 2011. Album two has the hip-hop duo filling in the background to their lives, and – you've got it – it seems the dimpled sweetness of the first record didn't tell the whole story. Roaring 20s opens with This Means War, a sketch about pint-sized gangbangers on their north London estate; it's followed by Lost Generation, a jaunty ska declaration that reality TV is used as "morphine" by young people like them.
Like Ant & Dec by way of 30s music hall and Fresh Prince-era Will Smith, Rizzle Kicks are a pair of Brit-school Brighton lads going a long way on their rude-boy charms, making tunes to skank to at the back of the bus with a can of shandy in your hand. It's dumb (how's "I love beer, I love rhymes, I love sex" for nuance?), but it's hard not to love a musician who puts their mum on a track (props Mrs Stephens on Lunatic). For extra cheek and cheer they rope in Dominic West, who does a credible John Cleese in urging everyone to "raise your glasses and shake your arses".
Rizzle Kicks are one of the few British hip hop acts that are making waves in the charts right now. Their first album depicted the lives of two youthful, fun loving boys, bursting with energy, and peaked at Number Five in the UK album charts. On their second album, Roaring 20s the youthfulness unfortunately becomes tiring, and drifts more towards immaturity.